High school honour STEMs from learning

Support local, independent journalism

The SE Voice is the Limestone Coast’s only fully digital publication. Locally owned & operated, we deliver all the latest news & sport direct to your fingertips. We're run by a creative team of local journalists all based in the region. News as we know has changed - we're delivering it first and free. Thank you for your support in keeping local news alive.

Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

High school honour STEMs from learning

Two Mount Gambier high schools have stamped their authority on the national STEM scene, taking home the top honours in Adelaide last week.

Mount Gambier High School won the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Innovation Experience at UniSA, with Grant High School placing as runner up.

It is the third time Mount Gambier High School has won the event, with Grant also previously having previously won, with Mount Gambier schools claiming the win four times in the last eight years.

Not only did the Mount Gambier schools finish top against other South Australian schools, they also defeated schools from Queensland and Victoria.

This year’s theme at the STEM Innovation Experience (STEMIE) final was STEMIEana Jones and – inspired by Indiana Jones – there were archaeological digs to find codes to crack, animal skulls to analyse and even snakes to hold and sustainable food such as crickets and mealworms to eat, plus plenty more.

Mount Gambier High School Mathematics and Numeracy coordinator Karen Henman said her school’s success had been achieved through great teamwork.

“Everyone in the team has a part to play,” she said.

“The students chose an area of the STEM that interests them to investigate and develop their own unique solutions.

“They support each other throughout the process so that all tasks are completed fully.

“We encourage students to strive to achieve their best in all areas of the curriculum which is an integral part of being successful in the STEM Innovation Experience.”

Ms Henman said it felt “absolutely awesome” to win this year’s event.

“I knew we had an exceptional group of students in our team who were capable of winning, but everything had to go right on the day,” she said.

“We are very proud of our students’ achievements. We will be keen to compete again next year.

“STEMIE makes STEM visible. Students might be good at maths, enjoy science, like spending time using a computer or building things. The STEMIE program shows students where their passions and skills could lead and opens student’s eyes to possibilities.”

UniSA STEM Education Outreach Officer Anita Trenwith said the experience was an opportunity for schools to engage teachers and their students in complex STEM activities while also competing against students from all over the state and also interstate.

“The learning that occurs at school is shared at Regional Showcases and the winners from each showcase progress to the STEMIE Finals,” she said.

“While the finals are an amazing event it really is only a small part of the work and learning involved in the program.

“Judging the showcases always highlights the creative variety of solutions students have produced to the complex STEM challenges we lead them through. They investigate and design a science experiment, develop an Arduino coded prototype, use the engineering design process to engineer a device within set parameters and create dynamic spreadsheets to mathematically model set requirements.”

Ms Trenwith said the tasks were all based around a central theme and schools could access equipment and UniSA staff support during the year.

“The UniSA Outreach team has a great time designing the challenges for the STEMIE Finals and it is a highlight watching it all come together as the students race against the clock to complete the required tasks,” she said.

“Next year we already have schools that have requested to join from all over Australia including Canberra, Tasmania and Western Australia.

“STEMIE has been running for eight years, with Mount Gambier High School taking out the title three times and Grant High School also previously winning the title.

“There must be something in that Blue Lake water because the Limestone Coast STEM skills are shining through in the STEM Innovation Experience.”

Why wait? Get more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox
Join our digital edition mailing list and stay up to date on the latest news, events and special announcements from across the Limestone Coast.

Your local real estate guide - every Thursday


You might also like